Banks allegedly involved in manipulating the rand-dollar exchange rate will now have to answer to the charges against them.
“Some of the individual traders involved in the currency manipulation were fired, but their employers – the banks – have yet to be held accountable in South Africa,” said Tembinkosi Bonakele, commissioner of the Competition Commission.
The commission recently filed a new charge sheet against 28 banks accused of this manipulation with the Competition Tribunal. Banks that are now also involved in this complaint include FirstRand Bank and Nedbank Limited.
The complaint relates to collusion in order to set prices and divide markets.
The new charge sheet comes after the Competition Appeal Court in February this year rejected the banks’ application for leave to appeal that the complaint be dropped. The banks’ main complaint was that the competition authorities in South Africa do not have jurisdiction over them because the operations outside South Africa – in New York specifically – took place.
The Court of Appeal ordered that the commission draw up a new charge sheet that replaces all previous ones and that this new charge sheet should indicate how the banks’ actions caused the manipulation and had a direct impact on South African consumers and the economy.
The new charge sheet gives more details on the activities of what the Competition Commission calls a “manipulation cartel”. In addition, banks, the Nedbank group (Nedbank Limited and Nedbank Group Limited), Rand Merchant Bank (RMB Holdings Limited and FirstRand Bank Limited) and Standard Americas are also involved in the new charge sheet.
“The banks must respond to the charges that are now further substantiated. It’s not just going to disappear, ”Bonakele said.